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Budget Fox Body Ford Mustang - Keep On Carbin' Me, Baby
A Carb Done Right Beats EFI Done Wrong, Even On Boost.
Turbochargers and EFI go together like hot dogs and beer, so it seems only proper, then, that a turbo Mustang running 8.92 at 157 mph would prefer its fuel to be administered electron-ically, right? The way boost builds exponentially, and the precise fuel and spark delivery that it requires is a task best handled by a high-tech EFI system, particularly if driveability is a concern. At least that's what conventional wisdom suggests. For Tony Bourns, convention was just a waste of money.
While carburetors aren't often glorified in this modern era of performance, it's hard to fault an 88mm turbo huffing into a four-barrel to the tune of 999 rwhp. Such an unorthodox induction combination was simply a matter of saving cash, and a figure even more impressive than this Mustang's prodigious power or blazing e.t. is that Tony bought the car and built it for only $17,000. This is a man who knows how to sink money where it counts, and an EFI system would have added thousands of dollars for little in return.
Just as important as sticking to a tight budget was retaining enough civility to cruise the streets to engage in some extra-curricular activities. Certainly, civility is a term used loosely here, and you probably wouldn't want to drive too far out of town without an AAA membership, but the car still has a full interior and weighs 3,300 pounds. In fact, Tony decided to build the Mustang because he was getting sick of track-only cars. "I had a '78 Pinto Super Gas car that ran 9.50s at 138 mph," he says. "I wanted something I could drive on the street, though, so I sold it to build the Mustang. The funny thing is, now my street car is faster than my old race car."
After picking up a bare-bones, four-cylinder Fox on eBay for $1,600, Tony promptly doubled the cylinder count by putting together a potent 400ci engine combination. The Dart-based small-block features a Lunati forged crankshaft, Eagle H-beam rods, and Arias 8.75:1 dished pistons. A Comp 256-at-0.050-inch solid-lifter cam lifts the valves 0.660 inch off their seats, and a wide 114-degree lobe-separation angle plays nice with the boost. Before reaching the CNC-ported AFR 205cc heads, air is crammed down a Holley 750-cfm carburetor and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. intake manifold.
Although Tony has always been a forced-induction kind of guy, a turbo wasn't originally part of the equation. He started out with a ProCharger D-1SC, later stepping up to an F1-R. In blown trim, the Mustang ran a best of 9.27 at 147 mph when cranked up to 21 psi and putting down 778 rwhp. Such outstanding performance notwithstanding, Tony began exploring different options once he stumbled upon Turbomustangs.com. There, he witnessed people raving about the superior low- and midrange kick of turbos over centrifugal blowers, and soon he had to have one.